Albacore tuna from Hondarribia (Spain)

Facts & figures

Albacore tuna
Poll & line
Hondarribia, Spain

The tradition and pride of Hondarribia

The colorful Hondarribia is located in the Basque Country on the Bay of Biscay, just below the border with France. Many fishermen have been working here in the tuna fishing industry their entire lives. They take pride in their work, and their passion for quality is immense. That's why Oskar and his crew never linger for long in the Bay of Biscay, ensuring that the albacore is brought to shore as fresh as possible. All the fish are caught one by one, fish by fish, using a rod and line!

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Their passion for quality runs deep. They truly care for the tuna, from the moment it bites until the fillet rests in the display case of the local fishmonger. This attention also ensures they never catch more than nature allows, thus keeping the tuna stocks at a healthy level and keeping the fishermen happy.

Good catch

The tuna fishermen of Hondarribia fish using rod and line or with trolling lines. With these fishing methods, the tuna is caught one by one, fish by fish.

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When fishing with rod and line, all fishermen aboard have a rod in hand with a hook attached. When the tuna bite, the fisherman swiftly lifts the rod, causing the tuna to fall off. Trolling lines work a bit differently; the rods are attached to a crossbar on the boat instead of being held in the fishermen's hands. The rods have lines with hooks hanging in the water. When they start fishing, the boat moves, dragging the hooks through the water. The tuna's hunting instinct is triggered: they go after the hooks and bite. The fishermen aboard see when they have a bite and reel in the tuna one by one. The methods of trolling lines and rod and line are very similar, and with both methods, the fishermen only catch tuna - there is no significant bycatch or damage to the environment. Thus, this is the only sustainable method for tuna fishing.

Culinary spotlight on tuna

Tuna, especially white tuna, traditionally takes a culinary spotlight in the local cuisine of the Basque Country. Affectionately called 'bonito', you'll find this fish featured in many restaurants. Fresh tuna is delicious, but preserved tuna is equally flavorful!

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Albacore tuna

The white tuna, or Albacore tuna, as expected, has lighter flesh compared to its relatives like skipjack or yellowfin tuna. The albacore is not as large as a bluefin tuna, but surprisingly full of flavor. Because this predatory fish primarily feeds on small fatty fish like sardines and anchovies, it is also packed with omega-3 fatty acids. So, it's delicious, healthy, and sustainable all at once!

"Superstition is important for a fisherman!"

Welcome to the Basque Country! Here, Oskar Etxebeste Larruskain has been fishing for the tastiest albacore tuna for 28 years. Along with his fifteen crew members, he sets sail for 180 days a year, mostly in the warmer months. Oskar, like a true sailor, is very superstitious. 'Before I go fishing, I always kiss my wedding ring for good luck.' His family is the main reason Oskar fishes sustainably. 'My son is still young, but I want him to have the opportunity to become a tuna fisherman if he wants to! My family should be well off, now and in the future.

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